The curious paradox is that when I can accept myself just as I am, then I can change. - Carl Rogers
Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need. Common humanity opens us to our essential interrelatedness so we know we are not alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment so that we can accept our experience with greater ease. Together they comprise a state of warm-hearted, connected presence.
Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who were not modeled compassion in their childhood or feel uncomfortable when they are good to themselves. It’s a way of being that stands up to harm, including the harm we unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-judgement, self-isolation, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to befriend our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.
Rapidly expanding research shows that self-compassion is strongly linked with emotional resilience, well-being, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships. And it’s easier than you think.
The concept of “empty boats” in Zen teachings comes from a story originally told by Chinese philosopher Chuang Zhu and it has much to offer us as a frame for living with emotional balance and equa...